The Six Stages: Communication Planning for Purpose-driven Organizations

Image of a wooden staircase leading to lake

An effective communication plan will include these six key components:

  1. Communication goals and objectives
  2. Target audiences
  3. Communication strategies
  4. Tactics and/or activities
  5. Evaluation
  6. Budget, materials, timetable and/or task list

We’ve customized the basic outline of a communication plan
for purpose-driven organizations.

We’ve described the characteristics of each component and highlighted, what we believe, should be the central question that each component should be able to answer. Here are the key components and approach for an effective communication plan for purpose-driven organizations… (If you prefer a PDF version, download a copy here.)

#1: Communication Goals and Objectives

  • Should be consistent with organization’s mission (i.e.,purpose)
  • Should be limited to three to five statements; although one may be enough
  • Should consider desired outcome
  • Examples: Increase awareness, change perception, take action
  • Use verbs to indicate activity
  • Should describe end result; not process
  • Should be a measurable outcome, specific to each target audience and include timeframe

What does success look like?

#2: Target Audiences

  • Should include groups your organization needs to communicate to, and also listen to
  • Should consider internal and external stakeholder needs and interests
  • Should consider whose support the organization needs
  • Should consider who the organization supports

Who are our target audiences and why are they important to our organization?

#3: Communication Strategies

  • How will you work toward reaching each separate goal?
  • What existing resources can you use to achieve each goal?
  • Should include key messages for each goal; and be specific to each target audience
  • Key messages can also have sub-messages
  • Key messages should have proof points
  • Should outline several strategies for each goal; some strategies may repeat

What themes or appeals will you use to reach your objectives?

#4: Tactics and/or Activities

  • Should outline what communication activity will be used
  • Should describe which communication tactic (vehicles or channels) will be used

How will we do the work to reach our objectives?

#5: Evaluation

  • Should consider if objectives are being met
  • Should include measurements, observations, opinions and audience feedback

What needs to change?

#6: Budget, Materials, Timetable and/or Task List

  • Should consider what resources are needed to meet objectives
  • Should consider out-of-pocket costs, employee time, materials, etc.
  • Should apply timetable to tactics, activities and/or tasks

How best to manage this project?

What communication challenges does your organization face? What do you think of this communication planning model for purpose-driven organizations? Please comment or reach out to me; I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Good luck!

The image is from one of our favourite stock photography websites: and is by Philipp Reiner.

K. Barker

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